Torys provides commentary on the new route of a modern legal career

December 18, 2019

The Globe and Mail has sought commentary from some senior staff at Torys on the emerging trend among younger lawyers to look for alternative career options as the traditional partner track model no longer appeals to them.

In the article, incoming Managing Partner Matt Cockburn explained how the counsel role was developed as a retention solution.

“There are a lot more alternatives available than there were 25 years ago. It’s not just a competitive landscape for talent, but it’s a very, very discerning talent pool out there,” Matt said.

“It’s not just giving someone a new title and saying ‘Okay, you’ve moved up a notch.’ It’s really finding solutions for people that are bespoke and work well for them and work well for us at the same time.”

Counsel Molly Reynolds - was also quoted in the article - reveled why she accepted a promotion to counsel last year and opted out of the classic partner track model.

“I wanted to take an individualized approach to my practice and career and the traditional partnership path wasn’t as appealing,” Molly said.

She also described how in her current counsel role she maintains a demanding privacy law and cybersecurity practice while also taking the lead on some files. She also shares some similar responsibilities to that of a partner such as supervising younger associates and law clerks.

Director of Professional Resources Deborah Dalfen said Torys’ move to offer counsel positions to mid-career lawyers who don’t want to take on the administrative duties and revenue generation goals that come along with being a partner.

“The counsel role isn’t one people go into to satisfy a work/life balance question,” Deborah said.

Director of Marketing and Business Development Sophia Tolias stated that she understood adding alternative roles may deter women from continuing onto partnership, but reported "[t]hat has not been our experience at Torys: We have nine women counsel and 16 male counsel.”


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